The LA Dodgers are the Favorite and Most Balanced Team in the NL
A long postseason run in baseball is generally good for a team, but the Los Angeles Dodgers have been to two straight World Series and lost them both. The 2019 regular season has been a mission and a training ground for the team as they try to bring a trophy home to Chavez Ravine for the first time in three decades. Posting 106 wins on the season, the team is led into the playoffs by sluggers Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson and Max Muncy, with a versatile lineup and bench.
Hyun-Jin Ryu and Walker Buehler held up their end of the bargain winning Games One and Three, while Clayton Kershaw continued his historically disappointing postseason performances and got saddled with the loss in Game Two. Dave Roberts’ team is very balanced overall, and now with a 2-1 lead in their series, their odds to finish off the Nationals and take their third straight NL Pennant are -180. They are also the second favorites on the board to win the 2019 World Series thanks to a +260.
The Washington Nationals Need Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg to Shine for the Upset
The Nationals throw perhaps the best rotation in the league at the Dodgers, boasting starters Steven Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, and Max Scherzer. But because the Nats used both Scherzer and Strasburg in their Wild Card matchup with the Brewers, they needed to wait to use Strasburg in Game Two, and are hoping out hope Scherzer can fend off elimination in Game Four. The Nationals rely on a young and dynamic core, including Juan Soto, Victor Robles, Trea Turner, and Anthony Rendon.
The dominant duo of Strasburg and Scherzer will need to show up and get help from the promising Nationals core in order to push the Dodgers to the limit. The sportsbooks do not think the Nationals are capable of it though, as most places have the Nationals odds to win the series off of the board, even though the Nationals odds to take down the NL pennant are +600 and to win the World Series they are only a +1100.
The Braves-Cardinals series boasts similar teams in a battle to move into the NLCS
In the other NLDS series, it has been the bullpens and not the starting pitching that has been the story. Game One between the Braves and Cardinals looked like a surefire victory for the Braves as they took a 3-1 lead into the eighth. However, the Braves bullpen imploded, allowing six runs in the final two frames to go down 7-3. The Braves almost rallied against Cardinals’ closer Carlos Martinez, scratching across three runs in the 9th before falling 7-6.
Mike Foltynewicz knotted the series up with a superb seven shutout frames where he struck out seven without issuing a walk. Then in Game Three it was the Cardinals’ bullpen’s turn to once again hand victory over to the visiting club. The Cardinals were clinging to a 1-0 lead in the top of the ninth when the Braves scored three runs, all with two outs. Dansby Swanson doubled home the game-tying run before Adam Duvall cracked a single to center off the end of the bat to plate two and give the Braves a 3-1 lead that they would not relinquish.
The NL East champion Braves are feature an above average rotation with the aforementioned Foltynewicz joined by midseason acquisition Dallas Keuchel. Mike Soroka tossed seven one-run innings on the bump in Game Three to continue his laudable season and Max Fried has anchored the rotation all season long. Ronald Acuna, Jr., Freddie Freeman, and Josh Donaldson provide power to the Atlanta lineup; as nine Braves finished the season with double-digit home runs. Now leading the series 2-1, the Braves are -410 to finish off the Cardinals while +450 to take the NL Pennant and +750 to win the World series.